A Manly Summer of Health: By Matt
Matt here with a quick guest blog post.
I just got my annual physical results back from the doc. Overall, at 32, I’m quite healthy. I weigh less than I did at my wedding (although 3 years ago I was pure muscle which weighs more than fat) and I’m almost 30 pounds lighter than when I met Amanda nearly 7 years ago (has it been that long?)
That being said, my cholesterol, is at 229, which 2 years ago was at 208. It needs to be below 200. (7 years ago it was almost 280).
So my doc read me what I like to call the riot act. Here was his demands: Take the summer to get your cholesterol down on your own through better eating and exercise or I’m putting you on Lipitor.
Liptor does make some sense to me as my whole family is on it and I have a family history of heart disease. Still, being young my goal is to really avoid any medication I can since I don’t want to be on some medication for the next 50 years.
So I wanted to write and put it out there that this is the summer of health. A summer dedicated to eating well, getting into shape both mentally and physically. This means a lot more veggies, a lot more cooking, and lot more working out. (I hate working out).
Can Matt do it? Can Matt reach the goal of 200 by August? Only time will tell.
Any other guys out there been read the riot act by your doctor? Did you decide to do it yourself or use modern science to do it for you?
As Matt works on lowering his cholesterol, there are a few foods he can eat on his road to success, according to the Mayo Clinic:
Oatmeal/Oatbran: Oatmeal is chock-full of soluble fiber, helping to reduce l0w-density lipoprotein, (LDL), which is the “bad” cholesterol (You can remember LDL as “Lousy). Other sources of coluble fibers are found in legumes, apples, pears (skins on and organic, when possible), psyllium (dietary supplement), barley, and prumes. Soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines. Try topping your oatmeal (not the instant kind) with added fruit and nuts to add on the fiber.
Walnuts: I’ve mentioned before how walnuts are just totally awesome (I call them “Little Brains) Studies show that walnuts can significantly reduce blood cholesterol, as they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, helping to keep blood vessels elastic and healthy. Eating a handful a day of most nuts, including almonds, too, can help reduce risk of heart disease. Remember, they are high in calories so watch your portion sizes. And if you have trouble digesting nuts, like I sometimes do, try soaking them overnight in water.
Fish and omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s are essential to one’s diet. I don’t eat much fish, so I make sure I take my omega-3 fish oil supplements (make sure they are purified and molecularly distilled). To me, taking omega-3’s along with vitamin D are the 2 most important supplements to take. Omega-3 fatty acids, among many jobs, help to reduce blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. In terms of fish, doctors recommend eating at least 2 servings of fatty fish each week, including: mackeral, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon. Personally, I don’t really like most of those, and I eat tuna sparingly, and salmon only when it’s wild (I don’t order Atlantic salmon in restaurants anymore because of the fish farming). If you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish, along with the fish oil supplement you can get your omega-3 from ground flaxseed or canola oil.
Olive Oil: EVOO, as Rachel Ray calls it, contains a great mix of antioxidants that can help lower your “Lousy” LDL cholesterol but not touch the good kind, HDL. To reap its benefits, the FDA recommends using about 2 tablespoons per day to your diet.
Plant Sterols/Stanols: Sterols and stanols are found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol and can be found in many food products. Most commonly you’ll find margarines, orange juice, and yogurts fortified with the plant sterols.
Eating all of this, with greatly reducing his saturated and tans fat intake (less than 10% of his total caloric intake), will certainly help him. Sorry Matt, that means cutting out the burgers and full-fat cheese.
Throughout this week we’ll discuss other methods of helping Matt lower his cholesterol, such as the importance of fiber intake, exercise, and the question, “Will eating eggs raise my cholesterol?” Stay tuned!
Entry filed under: nutrition.